With just two weeks before opening, rehearsals for Kj’s play Highway 47 are kicking into high gear!
I kicked myself into high gear last Tuesday as I began the final seven miles of a thirty-mile outing. From the South Bronx, I ran up the corkscrew ramp onto the Triboro Bridge and crossed over to Ward’s Island. At the south end of the island I began the climb up the long, curving ramp leading up to the Queens arm of the Triboro. It’s a ascent that never seems to end. I got more and more fatigued and never seemed any closer to the top. Finally, I arrived at the foot of a staircase that took me up onto the higher reaches of the span.
The Triboro, which connects the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan, is actually three separate bridges linked by a network of elevated roads on Ward’s and Randall’s island. Construction on the Triboro began in October of 1929 on the eve of the Great Depression. A lack of funding stalled the project, but in the early 30’s Robert Moses stepped in with New Deal money and work on the bridge continued. Despite scaling back the design, the project still cost more than sixty million dollars, making it more expensive than the Hoover Dam. While the Bronx and Manhattan spans are dull and industrial, the blue suspension bridge to Queens rises gracefully up and over the East River.
The apex of the walkway provided a dramatic view last Tuesday. Slate clouds were rolling in from the south, darkening Manhattan and southern Queens, but Astoria was still brilliantly dappled with sunlight. The blue and white domes of St. Markella’s Greek church gleamed as if they stood on the shores of the Aegean itself. Descending into Queens, I looked down on Astoria Park and it’s massive swimming pool, the city’s oldest and largest. It was the site of the US Olympic swimming trials in ‘36 and ‘64.
Arriving in Queens, I felt like I was finally on the home stretch. Astoria Boulevard took me over to the river where I followed Vernon Boulevard to Queensboro Plaza. From there it was a mere mile and a half along the rail yard to my stopping point, the Sycamore tree at 47th and Skillman.
Thirty miles, done! And in under than four hours, no less! At some point before every marathon, I get the feeling that I’m ready; a certainty that I can take whatever is coming because I’ve already been through worse. I ate my Fresh Taco that night glowing with that feeling.